As it was, Tomas Berdych was true to form when he claimed the first set against the Scot inside London's O2 Arena.
However, US Open champion Murray responded well, winning the next two sets to get off to a winning start in front of a home crowd.
Below is our minute-by-minute updates of the encounter.
1.50pmAfternoon all. I've been looking forward to this tournament for some time. It's almost become the fifth Grand Slam on the men's calender. And what a way to start it off - Andy Murray vs. Tomas Berdych!
1.52pmAs mentioned above, it has been the most amazing year for Murray. After losing to Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon, many questioned whether he would ever win the major prizes. He responded at the Olympics by winning gold in the singles and a silver with Laura Robson in the mixed-doubles. There was even more to come though! He went on to defeat Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open to end that agonising wait for a Grand Slam title.
1.55pmHe's never gone beyond the semi-finals of this competition though. His best chance came in 2010, but he was eventually defeated by Rafael Nadal in a final-set tie-breaker.
1.57pmAnd today certainly will be no walkover for Murray. Out of the seven matches that he has played against Berdych, Murray has only be able to win three of those. Murray won the last meeting though - an epic four-setter at the semi-finals of the US Open this year.
1.59pmBerydch has just been talking about this match: "I'm very excited and happy to be back here," he told Sky Sports News. "It's always a hard match against Andy. I've just got to stay focused and stick with my game."
2.00pmAnd some words from Murray: "The crowd might speed [the court up] a little bit. There is a lot of things I will have to do to beat a big server. I'll try to be as aggressive as possible."
2.01pmThe two players are now walking down the narrow corridors. They can hear the crowd clapping. And here comes Berdych...
2.03pmAnd here comes Muzza to a huge reception from the crowd! Have to say I'm a little disappointed to see that they have done away with the Clash's 'London Calling' as the pre-match music. That always appeared to get the crowd and players going.
2.04pmBerdych called heads and he gets it correct. The Czech has opted to open the serving in this match.
2.08pmRight, the warm-ups are now well underway. Both players are just running through a few serves. Not long now until we are off and running.
2.16pmAnd Murray goes long with the second point. A wasted early chance from the Scot. We're now on deuce.
Murray *0-1 BerdychIt took some time, thanks largely to Murray's great retrieving ability, but Berdych finally gets the hold. It's now Murray's turn to serve.
Murray 1-1* BerdychThat's a solid early hold from the Scot. Despite it being the opening exchanges, Murray's serve looked good there.
Murray *1-2 BerdychIt was promising start from Murray with a superb cross-court winner. Berdych soon regained his composure though and never really give Murray a sniff after that. It's all a bit cat and mouse at the moment.
Murray 2-2* BerdychIt's a love hold from Murray, who looks to have really settled into this encounter now. The first break is going to be crucial in this set.
2.33pmBig, big opportunity for Murray. He has three break points.
2.33pmThe first of which he sends into the net. Two to go...
2.34pmAnd the second is smashed past Murray by Berdych. You've got to admire the way that the Czech is dealing with the pressure here. One to go...
2.35pmAbsolute class tennis from Berdych. He's saved all three of those break points. If anybody doubted his presence in this competition, they won't be now.
Murray *2-3 BerdychThat's a stunning hold from Berdych. He's delighted and has every right to be. There's now big pressure on Murray to follow suit.
2.40pmBerdych is on fire at the moment. A superb smash brings up two break points for him. Murray is in trouble.
Murray 2-4* BerdychBREAK! Got him! Murray tries to play one down the line but he goes wide and Berdych is now two games in front. Big game ahead now in terms of this set.
Murray *2-5 BerdychAt the moment Berdych is cruising to a one-set lead. He holds to love, leaving Murray to cut a frustrated figure. The Scot is being overpowered.
Murray 3-5* BerdychIt was a love game for Murray, but it was one that Berdych could afford to let go. He is now serving for the set.
2.51pmWell, well, well. Murray's cross-court drives brings up a break point for him...
2.52pmWhat an earth has he done there?! Murray goes for the drop shot that never really looked on and he finds the net. What a time that do that. Deuce.
2.54pmBut again Berdych fights off the challenge. Murray looked like a puppet on a string during that rally, dancing to Berdych's tune! Deuce.
2.55pmThis time Murray goes long and Berdych has a set point.
2.56pmMurray escapes! He's plays a drop shot to the left of the court, which draws Berdych in. He has the whole court to hit, but sends the ball wide and we are back on deuce.
Murray 3-6 *0-0 BerdychSET! I did say that this wasn't a gimmie for Murray. The Scot fires long and Berdych takes a one-set lead. Murray shows his frustration by smashing a ball into the court with extreme force.
3.00pmWhat is a cause of concern for Murray is the fact that he has failed to take any of his seven break point chances in that set. At one stage he was 0-40 on the Berdych serve. Anyway, he is now serving at the start of the second set...
Murray 3-6 1-0* BerdychThat's better from Murray! Berdych gets to 15 but is allowed to go no further. He must now make some inroads on Berdych's serve.
Murray 3-6 *1-1 BerdychAnything Murray can do...It's top quality stuff from Berdych, who holds with ease. It doesn't look like nerves are going to get the better of him. Murray is going to have to produce something special.
3.08pmStunning from Berdych with a curling stroke from the baseline. The Czech has two break points.
3.09pmSome neat net play from Murray saves the first. One remaining.
3.10pmAnd Berdych goes wide with a powerful shot down the line. We have deuce again.
3.11pmBut the good old serve and volley technique rescues Murray for a third time in this game. He simply must find a hold here.
Murray 3-6 2-1* BerdychACE! Murray's first unreturnable serve sees him take a 2-1 lead. It's the first time that Berdych has seen break points fall by the wayside. How will he cope with that?
3.16pmThree break points to Murray. He has to take one of these, no doubt about it.
3.17pmA deep second serve by Berdych forces Murray to play wide. Two more break points remain...
3.18pmIt's wide again from Murray, who fails to cope with a bouncing shot from Berdych. One break point left - he's got to take this!
3.18pmServe and volley from Berdych, that is all it takes. Murray is angry with himself. Deuce.
3.19pmBut Berdych goes wide with a passing forehand stroke. FOURTH break point of the game for Murray...
Murray 3-6 *3-1 BerdychBREAK! Hallelujah! It's taken far too long, but Murray finally has the break. It's lifted the crowd as well. Wouldn't it be just like Murray to get broken straight back now?!
Murray 3-6 4-1* BerdychApparently it's not! He holds to love thanks to a service performance that looked to be full of belief and desire. It seems to be a long way back for Berdych now. We are probably going the distance at the O2.
Murray 3-6 *4-2 BerdychYou've got the admire Berdych's character with his performance in that game. He has kept himself in contention with a string of forehand winners. Over to you Murray...
Murray 3-6 5-2* BerdychBerdych pushes Murray all the way to deuce but the Scot holds firm. He's now just one game away from claiming the set. I'm sure he'd love to seal it with another break of Berdych's serve.
Murray 3-6 6-3 0-0* BerdychSET! We are going the distance. Berdych gave Murray a scare at 15-30, but he eventually regained his composure to serve out. This final set really could be won by either of these players. Murray will be the favourite, but Berdych has been dangerous.
3.46pmRight, it will be Berdych who gets this third set off and running...
Murray 3-6 6-3 *0-1 BerdychThat's just what the doctor would have ordered for Berdych. After losing the first point, he serves out to take the opening game. Pressure all on Murray now to respond.
Murray 3-6 6-3 1-1* BerdychIt was by no means pretty, but Murray gets the hold. Berdych is still making life extremely uncomfortable for his opponent.
3.58pmTwo break points to Murray. This could be the defining moment. Having said that, he has wasted numerous break points so far...
Murray 3-6 6-3 *2-1 BerdychBREAK! That is the first piece of loose tennis that Berdych has produced all afternoon. He had the whole court to hit, but sends the ball into the left tramline. Murray now has a big chance to claim an opening victory.
Murray 3-6 6-3 3-1* BerdychNow Murray's flying. He's been right up on the baseline and dictated every single point in that rally. It was a love game and Berdych has a lot of work to do now.
Murray 3-6 6-3 *3-2 BerdychA couple of aces from Berdych sees him overturn a 15-30 deficit to stay in contention in this match. He's still playing catch up though. Three more holds will see Murray over the line.
Murray 3-6 6-3 4-2* BerdychMurray is not hanging around at the moment. It's another clean hold from the Scot, who is just two games away from victory now. Big service game ahead for Berdych.
Murray 3-6 6-3 *4-3 BerdychFair play to Berdych. He powered his way to a love service game there. The Czech has played well since being broken. However, he is running out of time. Murray will serve to leave him just one game away from victory.
Murray 3-6 6-3 5-3* BerdychMurray's second serve has been heavily criticised in recent years but it helped him out massively there. He sends one bouncing into the body of Berdych, who can only send the ball wide of the court for the final point of the game. The Czech is now serving to stay in the match.
Murray 3-6 6-3 *5-4 BerdychBerdych holds to love for the second game in succession. It looked as though Murray was happy to let that one go in truth. He now has the ball in hand and will serve for the match.
4.26pmBerdych goes long, giving Murray a 30-15 lead. That is followed by a big "come on" from the Scot. He's fired up.
4.26pmTWO MATCH POINTS for Murray thanks to powerful serve...
4.30pmAfter a lengthy rally, Berdych goes for the power but his accuracy is lacking and he sends the ball in the net. Murray, quite rightly, is delighted with himself. He showed great character to battle back from a one-set deficit. Next up for him is the small matter of world number one Novak Djokovic!
4.32pm"It was very tough from the start. Tomas has had a great year. The support the last few months has been great. It's one last push and the end of the year and the support can help. You need to focus like it is the end of a major event. Every game counts," Murray tells Sky Sports News on the court.
4.34pmIt's a perfect start from Murray. As mentioned a minute ago, he plays Djokovic next. Should he beat the Serbian, he will have all but guaranteed his place in the semi-finals.
4.35pmTalking of Djokovic - he plays Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga tonight. The pair are due on court at around 7.45pm and we will have live commentary of that encounter so be sure to join us for that.
4.36pmThanks for joining us for what has proved to be a very good afternoon Andy Murray!